Kidney specialists float a new theory after revisiting Bruce Lee’s cause of death
It’s an idea, not yet embraced by the medical community, and not everyone agrees that a “stroke” caused Lee’s death. Yet the new theory, by a neuroscientist to be named later, was among the most intriguing of the theories that emerged after a reexamination of the late martial arts legend’s final days.
It involves the notion that the brain and the circulatory system are linked. As such, it gives physicians new clues into how diseases could affect brain function. This theory, known as the cardio-brain hypothesis, is one of several that emerged from a study that examined Lee’s final years in detail for the first time.
Lee, who was diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes in his early 30s, died at age 41 on April 18, 1973, after suffering a stroke while performing a kung fu battle with another man in Hong Kong.
The details of Lee’s illness were not known until researchers had done their work. “I always felt sorry that he died in that way,” neuroscientist Piers Chatterjee told the Associated Press. “The first time I read about it and the first time I even saw a film about this, I knew that it was something that would affect the way I looked at the world. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to work with him when I did. Hopefully we can do something about it.”
On May 14, at least, Chatterjee’s theory has become a reality, when his lab published an article that appeared in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. “The cardio-brain hypothesis is a radical new idea that may help researchers understand how to treat and ultimately cure a wide variety of neurological and physical degenerative diseases,” Chatterjee wrote.
The hypothesis is also part of a growing movement among scientists to study the role of stroke in neurological and mental disorders, which is now known to cause about 25 percent of all “sudden unexplained deaths in adults” annually. Chatterjee is the lead author of this third edition of the Neurologic